Lizards (Dipsosaurus dorsalis) were placed in a desertlike environment in which the ambient temperature (Ta) at night (1800-0600 h) was 12 degrees C and the day (0600-1800 h) Ta was between 30 and 55 degrees C depending on the location within the chamber. When dead Aeromonas hydrophila (4 X 10(9) organisms) was injected into nine lizards, an elevation in body temperature (Tb) of 2.7 degrees C was observed during the same day. On the day after bacterial injection the lizards' body temperatures averaged 41.6 degrees C, an increase of 4.2 degrees C over their control day Tb. Further investigations on the febrile response of D. dorsalis were conducted at the University of Wisconsin's Biotron, where there exists a simulated desert environment with the light intensity, temperature, and humidity closely parelleling a typical spring day in the southwestern desert of the United States (the natural habitat of Dipsosaurus). In this environment injection of dead bacteria into seven lizards led to an average febrile response of similar magnitude (Tb = 40.5 degrees C) but with a longer latency than that found at the University of Michigan. Injection of 13 lizards with live A. hydrophila (5 X 10(9) organism subcut.) in the simulated desert at Michigan led to a daytime fever averaging 2.3 degrees C (mean Tb = 40.6 degrees C) over a 5-day period. During the 6th and 7th day the lizards' body temperature returned to the normal or afebrile level. Injections of sodium salicylate along with dead A. hydrophila resulted in a dose-dependent attenuation of the febrile response. These results demonstrate that the reptilian febrile response is strikingly similar to avian and mammalian fever and suggest a common origin and perhaps function for the febrile mechanism.
- Copyright © 1976 by American Physiological Society